(WJBK) - The five teens accused of dropping a rock from an I-75 overpass and killing a man faced a judge Thursday as the emotional case continues.
Charged are 17-year-old Kyle Anger, 16-year-old Mark Sekelsky, 15-year-old Trevor Gray, 16-year-old Mikayden Payne, and 15-year-old Alexzander Miller. Each has been charged with second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit second-degree murder for an Oct. 18 incident that left a man dead.
In what police say appears to have been a prank, the teens are accused of dropping a 6 lb. rock off an overpass near Dodge Road in Vienna Township. The rock crashed through the windshield and struck 32-year-old Kenneth White, riding passenger on his way home from a construction job.
Some more visibly shaken than others, the defendants appeared in Flint District Court before Judge William Crawford. Most attorneys asked for competency evaluations to ensure the teens understood the charges and the court process, several citing their client's young age. All five are charged as adults and have pleaded not guilty.
Up first was Kyle Anger, the teen police say may have dropped the rock that killed White. His attorney said the defendant has bipolar disorder, ADHD, and ODD, and requested a competency exam.
Next, Mark Sekelsky's attorney Frank Manley argued for a motion to discovery after he says law enforcement has made public statements alleging the defendants have been involved in other incidents.
"If someone is going to go on national TV and say that there's other incidents involving my client or involving the other young men, I think it's incumbent upon the prosecution to investigate that and to immediately turn it over or in fact disavow it if it's not true," he said.
Manley argued when you make those types of statements, you're inflaming the public in a case that's already emotional. Prosecution agreed to turn over any information regarding other incidents if they found it.
He went on to stay he had Sekelsky physiologically evaluated and the results found he suffers from tremendous anxiety and depression.
"He's a 10th grader who's now been brought into the national spotlight charged with murder and facing the specter of losing his liberty for the rest of his life. Anybody would have trouble with that, but when you have a youngster, the inability to conceptualize, the inability to even wrap your mind around how your world has changed - and especially if you feel you didn't do it," Manley said.
Trevor Gray's attorney also motioned for a competency exam, saying at this moment there's some confusion and his client doesn't fully grasp the process. However, Mikayden Payne's lawyer decided to go a different route. He said his client is competent, understands the court process, and that they're ready to proceed with the case.
"I can only imagine the pain that the victim’s family is going through and delays sometimes exacerbates that pain and not only for my client but I think that the system needs to be moving forward," he said.
Alexzander Miller's attorney also did not ask for a competency hearing and waived his right to a preliminary exam within 21 days.
In tears after the proceeding, the victim's mother Theresa Simpson spoke with reporters, saying watching this unfold was hard for her.
"It's very hard to see the kids because they should have never done anything like that. It was uncalled for. They're old enough - they know what they were doing," she said.
Judge Crawford denied bond and the defendants will appear in court next on Jan. 11, 2018.